Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Better Late than Never...

I have no idea how to even write this entry, which is why it is coming 2 1/2 weeks after the race. On a negative note, I've experienced some side effect emotions since then that I will try my best not to document as I explain the events of the day that was the Broad Street Run. I'll split the weekend up into 2 separate blog posts.

The weekend actually began with a different event. The 4th Annual Get Your Head in the Game Brain Tumor Awareness Walk was on Saturday, sponsored by the Kelly Heinz-Grundner Brain Tumor Foundation. A family friend, Elizabeth Crossan, passed away in 2007 of a brain tumor. She was 27 and had 2 young sons. I knew her in high school as a best friend of my sister. However, it was the last few years of her life that I remember most. Her faith in God grew and she became such an amazing example of what true faith is. I've walked in this event for at least 3 years (maybe 4), and never ever thought to pass it up this year even though my training schedule said "Rest" for the day pre-race. It was uplifting and I was able to spend the day with my family, outside and enjoying the sunshine in honor of Elizabeth.

After the Walk, my mother drove me up to Philadelphia to meet Jess and Megan. In true Bethany fashion, I started crying about halfway up I95. Now I'm emotional about most things - marriage proposals, funerals, confrontations, puppies, American Idol, most season finales, fat days, bad hair days, mean comments, comments that weren't supposed to be mean but I took them as mean, pretty much everything else. But this was definitely a fear cry. I didn't want my mom to leave me because I knew once she turned that car around, I had zero way of getting home and I would have to complete the race no matter what.

This seriously was the first big step for me. Getting out of that car with my stuff and saying goodbye to my mom actually made me proud. Stupid, right? Such insignificant things that meant so much. Anyway, got my stuff and I headed to the room.

HILARIOUS! is the only way I can describe the rest of the evening. Jess and Megan were truly gifts from God in this whole thing, but I never knew how funny and crude they were. They also seemed almost as nervous as I was feeling. We stayed in our grubby clothes (me, still quite sweaty from the Walk) and sauntered down to the bar for some dinner. What, might you ask, was our dinner of choice? A nice grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables? Maybe a plate of wheat pasta with red sauce? Nope. I had a greasy roast beef sandwich with a huge pile of onion rings, also greasy. Megan ate a 2 foot long chicken cheesesteak (not really 2 feet but it was large) with french fries. And Jess ate a big ol' greasy cheeseburger, also with french fries.

Oh man, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Anyway, we scarfed down dinner and were pounding down the waters as we took in the scenery. The Flyers were in the playoffs at the time, so there was still a pretty good crew out watching the games in the hotel bar. (We were at the Holiday Inn right next to Citizen's Bank Park.) One gentleman in particular seemed to have drank his weight in alcohol and we sat watching him stumble around the bar, almost fall off chairs, talk to complete strangers, and somehow pop a lollipop out of a cigarette pack. As we sat and talked and watched, it became apparent that once we left the restaurant, the only thing left to do was to go back upstairs and face the reality that the sooner we went to bed, the sooner we would have to get up and run. So we ordered dessert - a piece of cheesecake for me and red velvet cupcakes for the other two.

I'm sure that all of the training guides and advice columns for running long races do not include this method of preparation. However, since this is my blog and I'm writing for my own posterity and for anyone else out there who may be considering running, here is my advice: Eat your heart out. Aw man, it was fantastic. You almost have to keep a healthy diet during the training because running sucks even more if you don't. But that night before was the best meal ever. I ate with reckless abandon, not thinking about my thighs or my butt or my waistline or my digestion or whether I would have to poop. Nope, I ate it because I was allowed to; and because I had earned a greasy meal topped off with dessert.

The rest of the evening was very relaxing. We laughed, we cried, we burped, we farted, we drank water, we pooped...and then we went to bed.

It's hard to describe the feeling I had when I took off my glasses and put my head on my pillow that Saturday night. It was nothing that I would have anticipated. I felt....tired. And at peace. I honestly don't even remember feeling any sense of nervousness as I drifted off. There have been so many nights that I've stayed awake until 12, 1, or even 2am, wondering and worrying about the next day. But God shielded me that night. As I closed my eyes, it was like I entered into a black hole of rest.

Or maybe it was that crazy noise machine that Jess needs to sleep with that sounded like we were in the middle of a monsoon.....

Friday, April 29, 2011

This is It....

I can't believe the Broad Street Run is in two days. When I started this blog at the beginning of the year, May 1 seemed a million years away. I struggled with running a mile, but found such pride in completing the task. Now I live for my 2 or 3 mile run days because those are my short runs.

I'm not sure I'm ready for Sunday to get here, but I really have no choice. Do or die, now or never, cliche, cliche, cliche.

I was talking with some colleagues today and had two very poignant realizations:

#1 - I have a fear of things being finished. Not really sure what my deal is, but I don't complete much of anything I start. I commit to something with ideas of grandeur and let them fizzle out before I can complete the job. In my home, the kitchen and bathroom in my home are 50% and 90% completed, respectively. Specific to working out, I've tried jazzercise, kickboxing, Zumba, yoga, Boot Camp and hip-hop dance. I've had a personal trainer - twice. I've been a member of the YMCA, Delaware Swim and Fitness, Gold's Gym (two locations), Plexus, Curves, and Planet Fitness.

I'm not really sure where the fear stems from. Maybe I'm scared the outcome won't be good enough? Maybe I'm scared I'll work hard to get to the finish line and I won't be able to make it? Maybe I'm scared of what's next? Who really knows. But I'll have to confront it head on with my epiphany #2.

#2 - There's no "not finishing" the Broad Street Run. Once that shot gun goes off and the race starts, the only way I'm getting somewhere that will ultimately get me back home is to use my legs to get me to the finish line. Oh sure, there are technically ways I could get down Broad Street without using my legs but 1) there's too many people who know I'm doing this and I'm not a good enough liar to tell everyone I finished the race if I actually hopped on the subway, and 2) I'm way to proud to have to be taken out in an ambulance.

So that's it. The next time I post will be once the race is completed. I'm going to try to make it the 10 miles in as close to 2 hours as possible, but my focus will be simply to do my best, whatever timing that may be.

If you're reading this, and I'm not sure how many of you there are out there or who you may be, but please send up a prayer for me this weekend. Continuously. My physical strength will get me there. My mental strength will have to cooperate. I will finish without a doubt. But I want to enjoy my day and be proud of myself. Please ask God to grant me not just the strength and endurance to get through the run, but also peace and no anxiety.

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Words of Wisdom

As the race draws near and I deal with such mixed emotions, I have also been consistently touched by the words and actions of others around me. It's seems that just as I start letting the self-doubt and fear seep into my psyche, God places the right person or thing in my path to lift me up. Here are a few that have touched me just this week:

"Good luck and just ask Jesus to take the wheel. You will find your strength through Him.... You got this woman! Yesterday, I had Jesus on my mind and the greatest sacrifice of all that He made me, little old me, and I felt so horrible that I was complaining about not being able to run in the heat...I was thinking, "How selfish of me to be whining about THIS"...anyway, I find that running, for me, as I am not an "avid runner" continues to be a humbling experience, day in and day reminds me to be thankful everyday for SO many things in my life, even if it's as simple as having water to drink when I am sooo thirsty after my run. I guess that's why it's a love/hate relationship because, in a way, it heals my soul all awhile torturing my body!" - Jessica Williams, April 25, 2011

Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill - "How Great Thou Art" -

"Days get so busy, we don't often get the chance to tell you that you mean more to us than words can say...But your birthday is the perfect time to let you know that all year through, we're proud of you, and we love you very, very much." - Birthday card from Mom and Dad, April 26, 2011.

"You're as beautiful today as you were the day I first saw you ten years ago." - Flower card from Pedram Daneshgar, April 26, 2011

They're all sweet and uplifting by themselves. But the point is, all of these things were presented to me at times when I felt down or unmotivated or unworthy.

I don't know how to go about publishing a book, but one day, I would like to put together a compilation of encouraging words to honor those who have helped me along my life. I don't always say thank you or let them know just how much they have helped me get through the next minute, hour, day, week. Maybe the words that have meant so much to me would be able to lift someone else's spirits as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

OhMyGoshIt'sSoCloseICanTasteIt Blog

I have never been more tired to post a blog than I am right now. How could I not when I just sweat this much?

My goal today was to run 5 miles. Being that I was off of work because my bathtub was being refinished, I was planning on running outside for the first time since my little panic attack. Unfortunately, the weather continued to get worse over the day and by the time Joe (the bathroom refinisher) left, it was windy and raining and not at all motivating.

But I did it! 5 miles, that is. Not outside. You crazy?

Today was a good day. In the midst of my lack of motivation, God sent me some of the best advice I've received about running in the form of my bathtub refinisher. That's right, God sent me Joe. We got into a pretty in depth conversation about everything running, and I just soaked up the advice. (I don't soak up advice.) Here is what I took from our conversation that helped me tonight and will hopefully set me up to finish these last 2 1/2 weeks:

1) Endurance is not going to be achieved if I keep focusing on time. My 2, 3 and 4 mile runs are nice to get those low numbers, but I have felt like I couldn't walk another step when I've finished them because I've been worrying about the time. Joe mentioned Jeff Galloway who has a proven training schedule, which brings me to number 2.

2) Make walking a part of how I will finish the run. Don't let it effect my mental state by making me feel guilty. This is a big one for me. I always rewarded myself with walking after pushing a mile. But I would push so much that my "quick" walk ended up lasting longer and longer the more I went. Jeff Galloway's schedule is a run/walk ratio. Since my standard first mile is between 11 and 12 minutes, my ratio would be run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute. Walking wouldn't be a reward or cause guilt, but instead would be integrated into the deal.

Amazing results. The brisk walk every 3 minutes gave me just enough time to get my breathing under control and mentally prepare for the next running section. The outcome was twofold - I maintained a 12:17 average mile and I felt like I could have kept going if I had to.

3) Let this be all about me. Let myself be selfish because that is the only way I'm going to have fun with it or get through it with my sanity. My friends have been so great with their encouragement, but I do feel like I have started to put more emphasis on making sure I'm proving something to them rather than proving something to me. My run will be completed in my time, in my technique, and I will be focusing on finishing that race for me.

So that's it. I got some good advice on outside locations to run in Delaware that are safe. I completed 5 miles comfortably and mentally stable. And I'm going to be selfish for the next 2 1/2 weeks because this is all about me.

I'll be 29 in 2 weeks exactly. This birthday will be different. Because this year, I'm going to be happy with myself.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Inaugural Phillies 5k

This 5k was awesome because I got a rad Phillies tshirt. And I got to stand where Shane Victorino stands. It was like we were one; I felt his aura.


My First 5k

Horrible picture. But documentation, none the less, of my first 5k. May be the most expensive outfit I own and it doesn't even come with a sexy pair of heels.

6 Workouts a Week

So I promised in my last post to blog more often to hold myself accountable and keep myself motivated. 7 days and 4 workouts later, I'm apologizing to myself and working on the forgiveness side.

Here's a recap of my week (in horrible to better order):

  • Saturday, April 2: 6 miles outside with Megan
Talk about a sucky workout. I swear I have mental issues. The first mile went okay, but by the time I got through half of mile 2, anxiety crept up and punched me right in the stomach. Literally. I had to stop moving and bend over, half hyperventilating, to keep myself from a full blown panic attack. Megan was a trooper and kept trying to encourage me, but it just wasn't happening. I got through the second and third mile, intermixing running and walking, and finally sent Megan on her way.

I'm not sure if it was running with someone else, or the concept of running around a very long track 6 times, but my brain...had a brain of it's own. I finished the 6 miles, but walked the last 3. My iPod filled my head with worship music as I prayed the whole time for strength.

This run scared me. Will I get like this at Broad Street?

  • Monday, April 4: 50 minute cross train
I'm trying to figure out why running isn't getting easier. My first try for remedy is to follow the training schedule to a tee. This was only my second time cross training in the whole time I've been working out. As I go into a 6-day-a-week workout schedule, I'm hoping the cross training and strength training will build up my lung and muscle capacity. (And help me drop a size before bikini season?)

  • Wednesday, April 5: 3 mile run
1 mile - 11:24
2 mile - 23:16
3 mile - 35:30

My average running time on the treadmill is 5.1 mph. After running 2 miles, I normally need to slow down to a walk for a tenth to a quarter of a mile. Jess suggested I take it down to a slow run instead of a walk. And that's what I did. Instead of going to a 4.0 mph fast walk, I slowed down to a 4.5 slow run. My times weren't the best, but distance and endurance are my focus now instead of time.

  • Thursday, April 6: 25 minute cross train
If I were to work out today, it would have to be at lunch due to an after work appointment. It's a little bit of a hassle to get to the gym, workout, shower, and put myself back together to finish out the rest of a work day. I will not use that as an excuse anymore and got to the gym to do a modified cross training workout. 25 minutes instead of 45 minutes, but I still got something in when I normally would just opt out completely.

So that's been my week. I have runs on Friday and Sunday, 3 miles a piece. Hopefully, I'll be back on here with great updates. If not, I may have given up and you'll be able to find me at the local McDonald's eating french fries, fish sandwiches, and cheeseburgers.

Prayer and uplifting words of encouragement are much appreciated.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crunch Time!

1 mile - 11:25
2 mile - 22:40 (fastest time yet)
3 mile - 34:43 (fastest time yet)

I did all of my runs outside last week to prepare for the Phillies 5k. I was wondering how my body would react to being back on the treadmill and man did I get my answer. No joke - I was a laser beam!

Since my run on Saturday, I have: a) not worked out at all, b) eaten food from Chickie and Pete's, a local Italian restaurant, McDonald's, Mikimoto's, and the cafeteria at my work, along with several incidences involving chocolate, and c) not had any motivation to continue my training.

This work out was exactly what I needed. My overall frustration with this whole thing is that I have not lost the weight I wanted, which was my number one goal. Prior to this weekend/week, I was eating a 1600 calorie diet and working out at least 3 times a week, so that lack of weight loss progress is hard to overlook. However, if I can keep having results like this, the motivation will be here to get me through April.

To hold myself accountable, I was supposed to do 4 miles today but a long trip to the DMV and a 9:00pm fantasy baseball draft I needed to be home for did not allow for the entire 4 miles. I did 3.5 miles in 41:24. Tomorrow will be cross-training at lunch, with 3 miles to follow on Friday and 6 miles on Saturday.

My motivation and diligence in getting in my workouts decreased when I stopped writing these blogs on a consistent basis, so more blogs will be forthright.

37:11 in the Phillies 5K

37 minutes, 11 seconds.

The following paragraph was brought to you by Pessimist Bethany. Pessimist Bethany is a new individual which surfaced once running became a part of Optimistically Cynical Bethany's life. She will hopefully be available for comments for a limited time only:

My goal was to finish the Inaugural Phillies 5k in under 36 minutes. Finishing the race at 37:11 was almost bittersweet. I had to walk a little bit - the first time was just after I passed the first mile marker. I almost passed out at the end of the race from pushing myself over the last quarter mile. And as I crossed the finish line, there was a 37, not a 36.

BUT WE WILL NOT DWELL ON THE NEGATIVE. Man, it took me awhile to get over the bittersweet feeling, but there are so many good things that came out of this 5k.

The following list was brought to you by Optimist Bethany. Also a new individual which surfaced to combat Pessimist Bethany (she will most likely fade after the Broad Street Run as well):

1) First mile time: 11:17!!!
I've NEVER run that fast in my life. I felt like I normally do after running at a 12-minute-mile pace, so I definitely needed to walk for a while to catch my breath. At one point I looked at Ped and gasped "We've run a mile already, right?" to which he told me "Of course! We'll be at the mile and half water table soon." To which I looked up and saw the mile marker about 100 yards ahead of me. He was wrong. So very wrong. It was okay though because of that glorious 11:17 on the screen. (I will also say that was based on gun time. By chip time, I would probably have been at around 11:07.)

2) Average mile time: 12:02!!!
I always forget a 5k is actually 3.1 miles. My goal for 36 minutes was based on my goal for a 12-minute-mile. Since the total race was actually a little over 3 miles, I did meet my goal of 12 minute miles. I don't know why it took so long for my brain to understand this, but this morning was the first time I honestly looked at that time and felt proud.

3) Improved 5k time of 2:35 (2 minutes, 35 seconds). I went from 39:46 to 37:11. Apparently, that's not too bad for 2 months.

4) Another amazing running partner that offered constant encouragement and motivation.
I conned Ped into doing this race with me. When you tell your baseball-obsessed boyfriend in January that all he has to do is run a few miles in March and he would get to walk on the field, get free baseball tickets, and possibly meet Phillies, it's a no-brainer that I would win him over. Ped has been so supportive throughout this whole thing. It hasn't always been in the way that I like, but it's been in a way that was motivating and encouraging. Finishing this race with him was such a wonderful experience. He may not be running Broad Street with me, but I'll be able to picture him next to me.

The race itself was a nice path, but it was frigid. I'm pretty sure everyone who signed up for the race expected spring weather since it was held on March 26, but that was not what we got. The cold was bad enough, but the wind chill was horrendous. The "cool down lap" on the field was actually an hour long line to get your picture taken at home plate. Not all it was promised to be, but I would recommend this race to anyone for next year. It was open to 3,000 runners and sold out within a day. Hopefully next year, they will open it up to a few more people. Ped and I will definitely be on that list.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Preparing for the Phillies 5k....

One of my work colleagues asked me how my training was going for the Broad Street Run. This week I fell back to 2 miles for my 3 days, and next week will rev me back up to 6 miles. You would think a week full of 2 mile runs would be great, but my response to him was not so. I told him that I was having a hard time getting through the 2 miles, which was freaking me out and leading to an extreme lack of motivation.

He must of been sent to ask me that question for a purpose, because he said exactly what I needed to hear. As an avid runner, this gentleman has run marathons in every continent except Africa. While training for his races, he would run 18 miles BEFORE work. This man looked at me and said that I was no different than every other runner. He said he often struggles through the first mile, with his breathing completely off and he wonders how he can make it another 25 miles (an actual marathon is 26 miles...that ain't happening for me).

My whole life is spent trying to be different. I hate being put into a box. I don't want to be normal. And yet, when he told me I wasn't different and nothing I was going through was anything special....I had me'self an ah-ha moment.

The last time I posted was last Tuesday with my 5 miles. Here's what I've done since:

Wednesday, 3/16 - 25 minutes of cardio at lunch
Thursday, 3/17 - 1.75 miles at lunch
Sunday, 3/20 - 4 miles outside
Tuesday, 3/22 - 2 miles outside
Wednesday, 3/23 - no official cardio, but spent the day painting the bathroom

I've been running outside these days to try and prepare for my next 5k which is (duh duh DUH) on Saturday. It's sooo much harder than a treadmill and the breathing during the first mile is definitely getting to me. Which is why my colleague's words were such an ah-ha moment. If he needs some time to get his breathing down, but can complete a 26 mile run, than I can conquer 3 miles.

I didn't get out of work until close to dark, so I will be running tomorrow after work in preparation for Saturday. Picked up mine and Ped's race packets so I'll be ready to go.

My goal was in under 36 minutes, which I'm not sure will happen. If I can hit that, I will eating a big ol' greasy cheeseburger in celebration. However, I kind of have a sub-goal. If I can get through this race by running as much as I can without pooping out on myself, I will be proud. No greasy cheeseburger, but pride.

GO NUMBER 2835!!! That's my bib number.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Unbelievable Feeling

2 miles - 23:36 (Fastest yet)
3 miles - 36:22 (Fastest yet)
4 miles - 49:38 (Fastest yet)
5 miles - 63:38 (Fastest yet - obviously)

Things I did today that I've never done before:
  • Completed 5 miles. And would have been able to keep going.
  • Ran my fastest 2 mile time...and my fastest 3 mile time...and my fastest 4 mile time.
  • Decreased my 3 mile time by a minute and a half, and closer to my 36 minute goal for next weekend's 5k.
  • Ran the first 2 miles - RAN IT. NO WALKING FOR THE ENTIRE 2 MILES!!!
What did you do today?

I need to throw another shout out here. This one is to the power of prayer.

For someone who has lived a privileged life (great family, solid education, food always on the table), I've been through some rough stuff. I've experienced death a lot, heartbreak one couldn't begin to understand, financial crisis, and physical pain. But when I look back, in between the bouts of loneliness and fear and anxiety, there was always a belief that things would be okay. Hope.

I know there is always Someone looking out for me, protecting me, loving me. I take that for granted though until things get tough. I have been going about my training feeling so disheartened leading up to my workouts. When I had a good one, the euphoria would last 10 minutes after I got off the treadmill and then I would fall back into hating this whole thing.

Today was my day I finally fell back on prayer because I knew I couldn't do it alone anymore. I prayed for strength. I prayed for patience. I prayed for endurance. My 5 mile run today was a testament to the power of prayer. I feel amazing, my euphoria has not gone away, and I thank God that He will be with me every single step I take on this running journey because I obviously am incapable of doing it on my own.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holla at Me!!!!!

2 miles - 24:33
3 miles - 37:52
4 miles - 51:21

That's right. I said 4 miles. 4 MILES!!!! Boo-ya!!

I felt so good after I completed this run, but I can't help but wonder - who actually does this just for fun? I know people do, but I can't imagine running for that long without having an ultimate goal in using it as a stepping stone to be able to finish a 10 mile race. Maybe that will change once I've gotten up to 6 or 7 miles. Maybe 4 miles won't seem that much. I look back to when I started and remember how moving from 1 mile to 1.25 miles was huge and felt like such a task. Now it wouldn't make sense to get off the treadmill unless I got in at least 2 miles, if not 3. But 4 miles???

To be honest, I had to sit down once I was done. I was really proud of myself, and felt great, but wooooooo, was my body reeling. If my body could talk, it would have said, "Giirrrllll...." and then it would have slapped me.

I didn't write a blog post after my run on Sunday because I was really down on myself. The training schedule for last week was 3 miles on Tuesday, 2 miles on Thursday, and 4 miles on the weekend with strength and cross training in between. Well I did the Tuesday and Thursday runs, didn't do any of the strength or cross training and only got another 3 miles in on Sunday. That was a lot of statistics, but basically, I sucked last week. I had hit a plateau at 3 miles and felt like I would never be able to forge past it.

Ok, so that was a little dramatic, but I was a drama queen last week. Don't judge.

Well, I'm redoing last week. When I started the training schedule, I began a week earlier than necessary, which gave me some leeway if I couldn't get my workouts in. Maybe that subconsciously made me not push as hard. Well that leeway is gone.

I'm also switching up the days within the week. I am always able to get in my Tuesday run, so for the next few weeks, my long run will be on Tuesdays, my shortest run will stay on Thursdays (which I will be doing during my lunch hour) and my mid-run will be on the weekend. Trust me, it works out to the same amount of days separating everything. I will be able to get in Wednesday's cross-training during lunch too.

I've had a few weeks of trial and error, trying to find what will work for me, but this may be it. Tomorrow is my 2 mile run at lunch, with a 3 miler on Sunday. Next step up will be 5 miles next Tuesday.


One shout out to my family: I'm so proud of my sister and brother-in-law for getting on a healthy kick too. Kim actually called me while she was walking on the treadmill today! Kudos to her because I can hardly breathe while I'm on the darn thing much less talk. Not only did they start eating better and working out, they're sticking to it. Hearing from her today about that was such a motivation to me!!

Note to self: Eating healthy during the day doesn't mean much if you allow your boyfriend to convince you a Chinese Buffet is an excellent dinner choice. It was sooooooooo good though.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fastest 3 miles yet!!!!

1 mile - 11:56
2 mile - 24:38
3 mile - 38:02 (fastest time yet)

I, of course, did not get to the gym last night after happy hour. Who plans to go to the gym after happy hour? Running after nachos es no bueno, so I went to Marshalls instead.

Anyway, I've gotten into this weird.......thing. It's like everything I've dealt with over the past few weeks has culminated into one source of worry for me and I'm numb.

That was confusing. Better explanation - I'm stressed and tired, but I've made time for about 75% of the exercise I'm supposed to be doing along with doing other things in my life that make me happy. I'm worried that I'm not very good at running and upset that I'm not able to run without struggling, but I'm proud of myself for what I have accomplished and realizing that every time I do it better.

Wait! That's it!!!! Everything is falling into place and I am so completely confused that I'm having a hard time enjoying it. what?

The 3 miles seemed to go really quick today, which was nice. I arrived at work a little early, left a little early and got out of the gym by 6:15. It really was awesome to be able to have an evening that didn't involve me coming home and crashing sometime after 7:30. I took the initiative to discuss some different options for my lunch schedule, so I'm also going to try and get to the gym once or twice a week at lunch time to give me another evening free.

We're getting there people. Only 2 months til Broad Street! Oh Lord help me....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Karma is a .....

1 mile - 11:42
2 miles - 24:17

Hellooooo Blog!

So of course my weekend in NJ did not include the amount of running that I was supposed to complete.

Supposed to run: 2 miles on Saturday, 3 miles on Sunday.
Actual run: 1.4 miles on Saturday.

But whatever, you know what? After a week of running well and eating extremely healthy by sticking to my diet, I had a good weekend. I indulged in a little bit of Mexican food and seafood chowder while spending some quality time with a really cool guy and my family. Another positive: My 1.4 miles on Saturday were outside in really cold weather with ocean wind and I did it better than the last time I could hardly make it a mile.

This is the second week that I have been documenting my weekly menu and sticking to it. (THANK YOU AMANDA) I had a brain fart last week and tried my best to get under the standard 1500 calorie diet on a daily basis - which of course is SO wrong because the standard diet is 2000 calories. No wonder I was so hungry!!!! It made it easier for this week though. I've been eating a standard 1600 calorie or less diet Monday through Friday, and a week and a half into it - I feel wonderful!

It's been a tough week at work and it's only Tuesday. Thankfully I got out on time yesterday and got in a 2 mile run (which was my fastest time yet). Anyway, this morning, I put on my pencil skirt, my patterned tights and my 5 1/2 inch wedge heels and pranced my still-large butt out of my house to work with more confidence than I've felt in a long time. At work, we laughed, we cried, we created special moments.

Ok, not really all of that, but it was a good day which led to me clowning around a little longer at lunch than I should have. This is where karma comes in. I felt sooooooooo good about myself that by the end of the day my knees were killing me from those lovely heels I ran around in and I had a ton of stuff to do. I got out of work at 6:45 and didn't have enough in me to make it to the gym to do my 3 miles. Maybe that's a good thing though since the training schedule doesn't allow for 2 days of running in a row.

The diet and exercise is a good control in a life that is a little crazy right now. Who knew??? I'm getting excited guys and gals. It's the month of my next 5k - just 25 days away. My goal for that is under 36 minutes which is an average 12 minute mile. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm going to be pushing myself.

Happy hour tomorrow night so I'm going to try and get a run in at lunch, if I'm allowed to take a little extended time away. Updates to come....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

First time to 3 miles...

1 mile - 11:50 (fastest so far)
2 mile - 25:04
3 mile - 38:56

Well, not technically the first time I hit 3 miles. I did it the Friday before the 5k in January, then I did it on the actual day of the 5k in January.

The difference with this time was that it started my first week of upping the ante. The first time I wasn't preparing for something that was happening tomorrow. For the next 9.5 weeks, each week I will be running a mile longer than I did the week before. Each week, I will be accomplishing something I have never done before.

So today, I reflect. And wonder.

When I started in November, I underestimated how hard running really was. I figured my body would be sore some days, but I never thought that it would be a struggle to finish a mere 3 miles. Screw that, I never thought it would be a struggle to finish 1 mile. I am having such a hard time establishing a routine and a schedule. My self control has been tested so much.

Through all of that hardship though, I am really proud of myself. I may not be where I thought I would be, but I'm still getting on that treadmill 3 times a week. There was only one time I questioned finishing my run, and that was when someone else questioned it. Even then, it was never an option for me to not finish what I was tasked to do, and for that, I praise God for His strength. I'm praying for continued strength and perseverance.

I do wonder when it will click for me though. I get so excited these days talking about running, and I'm delving into the world of healthy eating again. But when I get on that treadmill, it still hasn't clicked. It's still a countdown for me from the second I start running until I can finally stop.

Another bump in the schedule is my upcoming weekend in New Jersey. I've been really bad about keeping up on my running when I'm there, so I need to get into the right frame of mind NOW.

Thank you to those who have inspired me to keep doing this endeavor. Kind words have never meant so much.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Random Thoughts...

1 mile - 12:03
1.5 mile - 18:14
2 mile - 24:35

Random thoughts....

#1 - My mile wasn't my best time, but my two mile was. Gaining endurance. Sweet!

#2 - No blister! My new shoes rock.

#3 - I felt so accomplished for what I have done today - church, grocery shopping, laundry, gym...and then I caught a glimpse of my Christmas Tree in the window's reflection and realized that as much as I get done, I will never fully be accomplished until my Christmas decorations are taken down. I know it's almost March. Don't judge.

#4 - Bought a whole lot of fiber and grain based food at the grocery store today. Also bought some extra toilet paper.

#5 - I'm over cold weather. I'm pale, I'm cold and I'm over it.

#6 - Addressing my "Feeling Low" blog from a few days ago: Am I feeling better? Yes. Was it PMS? No. Running and eating better really is a lifestyle change, but when your current lifestyle is completely hectic and all over the place, how do you change what you don't understand? I'm feeling a lot better after having some meaningful conversations and getting a haircut to spruce up my outside. Thank you all for your prayers!

New Shoes!!!!

Part of my Saturday included heading to the Delaware Running Company on Main Street in Newark to figure out why I was getting a blister on my right foot every time I got even close to 2 miles. It's amazing how much more goes into this running thing than I originally thought. My problem?

#1 - Cheap socks. White sport socks are white sport socks, right?? Apparently not. There are specific socks that pull away water from your foot, thereby reducing the amount of irritation to your skin from the rubbing against the sock.

Here's the best way I can explain it to those with smaller legs: Remember when you wore a pair of shorts to a water park when you were younger than went on the Flume ride? You got soaked and had a blast but for the remainder of the day, your wet shorts would ride up as you walked and would start rubbing against your inner thigh because they were wet, causing some issues to your skin. The best way to explain it to those with thighs like mine: It's that inner thigh skin feeling you get anytime you put on a pair of shorts above your knee and sweat at all. If your foot gets wet, your skin will rub against your socks causing irritation and eventually blisters.

#2 - Wrong size shoes. My normal shoe size is a 9. However, not only are sneakers often made slightly smaller than a normal shoe, but your feet swell as you run. My size 9 ASICS were great running shoes and were good for how I run (I roll my foot in. That's what the guy at the store told me. Again, extremely technical for running). Unfortunately, they were getting too tight on my feet and were probably the main cause of the blister.

So I got new shoes which are now the picture at the bottom of my page!! Those who know me well know that I love me a new pair of shoes.

My suggestion for people who are thinking of starting to run: Go to a running store with employees who love to run and aren't just looking to get a sale. Have them look at your feet. And then invest in the right pair of shoes before you begin. They will cost more money than the Champions at Payless, which I have owned in the past, but they will get you through your runs on a much better foot. If you get cheap shoes, you will end up having to buy another pair sooner anyway and the expense will even out, but your poor feet will not be happy with you.

Off to my two mile run that I skipped yesterday!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Feeling Low

1 miles - 12:07
2 miles - who knows

I skipped cross-training yesterday to work on my mental strength. I spent the evening cooking dinner for my family; watching my nephew, Jacob, be the smartest 2 year old ever; and cuddling with my nephew, Joshua. By the time I got home last night, I felt reinvigorated and ready to run.

Didn't last long. Today was a low that I haven't felt for a long time. I felt vulnerable and defeated when I woke up and trying to find pants to wear to work that didn't feel snug just sent me over the edge. I guess we all have those days, but I'm ready for this one to be over.

I'm not feeling good and my emotions are all over the place but I still got to the gym. I guess that's a plus. I also did the whole 2 miles. Another plus. Unfortunately, I hit the automatic stop button by accident at mile 1.46 so I have no idea what my time was. I did get back on for another half a mile though to complete the 2.

Tomorrow's my official day off for the week and I'm supposed to go out to happy hour with some girls from work. Another mental strength day. One of my best friends (who is an avid runner i.e. crazy) gave me a good outline to use for a menu, so I may hit the grocery store tomorrow night as well.

Keep me in your prayers that God can lift my spirits.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Start of the Official Training Schedule

1 mile - 11:56
1.5 miles - 18:15
2 miles - 24:55

I started my official training schedule for the 15k yesterday. It's a 10 week schedule that requires 6 workouts a week - 1 stretching and strengthening day, 2 cross-train days, and 3 running days. I'm feeling motivated right now and very accountable to the schedule, though I'm not going to lie and say I'm not intimidated. My concerns were three-fold:

1) If I want to run farther than the schedule says on any specific day, should I?
2) How do I keep from gaining weight since I'm always so hungry after a workout?
3) 6 workouts a week? Really? And my life happens when?

I'll start with #3. I am NOT a morning person. Those who know me and have to endure my fake tolerance of the world every morning while I quietly mutter mean things under my breath understand how much I am not a morning person. Which basically means there is no way I will be up at 5:30 to go to the gym. Don't judge me. I'm making a grown-up decision, and there's zero way that will become my life, at least right now.

My workouts so far have all been after work, which makes it very difficult to have a life. I work until between 5:30 and 6:30 on most nights and own a home which requires laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, trash, grocery shopping, etc. to be done by yours truly. I won't complain too long because, as I was recently reminded, everybody works. However, having a life right now has become something of an unreachable idea. I want to spend time with my family (especially my two nephews who have taught me a rare, amazing type of love), time with my friends, time with my boyfriend, time for myself, time to relax, time to travel, etc., etc., etc. I feel like if I choose to work out, I can only have time for one or two other things and not really allow for everything that makes me happy.

I have to find a happy medium. Working out during lunch on cross-training days? Only do 4 or 5 workouts a week? This has to be worked on. Suggestions are very much accepted, so please let me know if you have any ideas that could help.

Back to #1, thank God for people who have already run Broad Street. Megan told me today that she doesn't think I should run more than what the schedule tells me to, because I'll really regret it once I get to the high mile days. That makes complete sense and I will go with that thought.

#3 is a hard topic for me in the social and emotional realm. #2 is my biggest mental, physical, emotional, everything else obstacle to get over. I started running because I wanted to lose weight. I don't think I'm fat, but I'm close to 30 and it's not as easy to keep the weight off anymore. But man am I hungry. I've always been a dieter and not an exerciser, so my increased appetite is foreign to me and I'm not adjusting to it well. I have changed my diet over the past week or two and feel a little better, so hopefully I can keep the diet up with the exercise.

So away we go. Yesterday was a stretching and strengthening day. I had no idea how to make my way around the weights at the gym, so I did a bunch of random leg machines, 10 minutes on the elliptical and a bunch of abs workout. I was left sore, so I guess it worked.

Today was a 2 mile day, which I completed. Tomorrow is cross-training, after I go to my sister's house for dinner and some family time. Then another run on Thursday. Then Friday is a day off.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Self Esteem Sucks. Self Awareness Rocks.

At some point, I will lay it all out on this blog and explain why this Road to the Broad Street Run is so important to me. There are years of body and self esteem issues that have stood in my way. But I'll get to that later on. Check back around April 26 when I turn 29 and will be 5 days away from my 15k.

For now, I will say this: I looked at a picture of myself from a friend's birthday party....and I didn't instantly think about how fat I looked. I actually pulled up the picture to see how bad I looked and I impressed myself.

God has a plan for all of us, and I'm not sure where this path is going. But for the first time in a long time, I looked at a picture of myself, I didn't hate my body and I felt pretty. (Disclaimer: I have an amazing boyfriend who makes me feel beautiful on a daily basis. That does not include when I actually have to dress myself in the morning or look at pictures. Pictures are from the devil.)

If you have a solid self awareness of yourself, negative self esteem doesn't have a chance. Yeah for running!!!!

Things to Do, Things to Do

1 mile - 12:07
1.5 mile - 18:25
2 mile - 25:02
2.25 mile - 28:56

I'm getting a blister on my foot so I'm hoping to get to the Delaware Running Store tomorrow to check my shoes. That was just one reason I lasted only 2.25 miles, which was better than before, but still not as far as I should have run. The other reasons include the fact that I had a ton to do tonight, including watch Glee, watch Biggest Loser, and take my Christmas decorations down.

I accomplished the first two things. The last was only half completed before I was distracted by more television, a glass of champagne, and a Smart Ones dessert. Soooooo, I didn't finish the evening as I expected. But I still ran farther than I did earlier this week, but was distracted by the other things I had to do.

I'll be back in the gym on Thursday. By Monday I will be on to 3 miles and beyond!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Under 12 Minutes!!!!

1 mile - 11:54
1.5 miles - 18:17
2 miles - 24:??

The machine I was on today didn't give me a workout overview, so I'm not exactly sure what my 2 mile time was, but that was not my focus. Today, I finished a mile in under 12 minutes. Do you know what that means???? I was able to jog/run the entire mile - without walking.

Awesome: Finishing a mile in under 12 minutes for the first time.
Not Awesome: Eating a large salad (think lettuce, corn, black beans, onion, feta cheese) an hour before working out.

I finished that first mile like a champ. Wearing my newly acquired "Respect the Logo" Phillies tee (thanks babe), I was invincible, unstoppable! I was going to get in at least 4 miles. I seriously felt like Rocky, wanting to throw my fists in the air and cheering myself on.

And then the salad hit. I hadn't felt very well before I got there, but as soon as I started running, I felt better. At about 1.35 miles, I felt that sick feeling coming back in and by 1.5, I had to take my speed down a little more to keep from becoming a permanent conversation piece at Planet Fitness for years to come (i.e. puking all over my treadmill).

Unfortunately, I was only able to do the 2 miles because of my dinner choice. However, today was a day of accomplishments:

1) I ate a well balanced diet today and did not feel stuffed or bloated by the time I left work.
2) I drank 48 ounces of water today. That is a HUGE feat for me.
3) I finished a mile in under 12 minutes (and my knee didn't hurt for one second!).
4) I finished my evening with 300 sit-ups.

(I'm not sure who I've become, but somehow all of that overshadowed a long day of work, a long Board of Trustees meeting, a headache, a traffic ticket via camera (thought I'd make the yellow), etc.)

Here's to trying to get a longer run in tomorrow....

A little late...

Wednesday, February 2

1.5 miles - 19:36
2 miles - 26:16

Thursday, February 3

300 Sit-ups

I'm a little late with this post, but wanted to make sure my times were documented. My knee felt a little better on Wednesday, so I tried to get back onto the treadmill. It was more workable than Monday, but still not in top shape. I had to walk a lot and not run. This was not exciting for me.

I've been eating horribly and a lot more than I normally do, so it's been affecting my mood and my waist. That, of course, may be a figment of my imagination but it doesn't help that I can't move around because of my knee. Booooo!!!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

No Pain, No Gain

1.5 miles - 23:33
2 miles - 32:07

Dude, my knee hurts.

I find it ironic that I have something that could loosely be called "runner's knee" considering my inability to call myself a runner. I have taken the title "runner" and have put it on a pedestal - an elitist club of people who can get somewhere fast; who can put one foot in front of the other continuously for seconds, minutes, hours on end; who look fresh and dewy after a long run rather than bright red, dripping with sweat and snot, and bent over trying to catch the breath they lost within the first few minutes of hitting the pavement.

Unfortunately, I do believe my goal of getting into this elitist club called being a "runner" has been my first downfall. I've been playing head games with myself, striving to become an athlete and a runner. I've been so focused on getting to a certain time and being able to run more than walk, I haven't been taking care of myself. After I ran on Sunday, I didn't stretch like I was told to do. I got on the treadmill on Tuesday and pushed harder than I should have done. And I didn't go back to the gym again until today, almost a week later.

I realized today though, that as soon as I started training a few months ago, I became an athlete and a runner. I should be striving to be a better athlete and a faster runner. That means stretching before and after each run, drinking enough water throughout the day, and making sure I have protein before my workouts to get me through. These things aren't a big deal and they aren't major changes to my day or life.


You read it. I'm now held accountable.

I got on the treadmill and tried to run, but my knee felt like it was giving out every time I came down on it. I stayed on that treadmill though for two miles and I walked it as fast as I could.

Unless Mother Nature derails my plans, I will back in the gym tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Running Time

1 mile - 12:26
1.5 miles - 18:45

I was going to allow myself this week off, since I had devoted all of my free nights to training last week. However, since I indulged in more carbs over the past two days than I did in 2010, I felt a strong urge to get back into the gym.

This is not where I want to be. I will be better.

Where are those cookies?????

Just kidding.

Sort of.

22nd Road to the Super Bowl 5k

When I think Super Bowl, I think football, chicken wings, football, beer, nap time, football, family and friends, and the Eagles not playing. This year, though, I signed up to run in my very first official "race". The 22nd Road to the Super Bowl 5k was on Sunday, January 23 and I was one of the 208 runners, ages 10 to 78, to participate. Soon after I decided to start running in mid-November, I found this 5k on a local website. The timing seemed perfect! I would have been training for almost 2 1/2 months and I would of course be ready. Right??? So register I did.

A quick overview of my training leading up to that point: I joined Planet Fitness on November 18 and could barely run, much less run a mile and there was zero possibility of me being on a treadmill for 3.1 miles. I followed the Novice to 5k training schedule rigorously for the first few weeks - and then the holidays came.

For my first note of advice to all those reading this blog who are not runners, IT IS OKAY TO BEGIN YOUR TRAINING AT THE HOLIDAYS. I absolutely did not stick to my schedule, and I was not able to get to the gym 3 days a week like it said. But I did go to the gym. Some weeks it was once and some weeks it was twice. However, I got through the holidays feeling a lot better about myself than I normally would because of those few times I got my head out of the refrigerator.

Back to the 5k. By the time Sunday rolled around, I had prepared and I had a goal in mind. Two days before, I had run/jogged/walked 3 miles consecutively for the first time in my entire life. My time was 39:46. Even though my training to that point had been 99% treadmill, I felt ready. I ran a mile down the Jersey Shore boardwalk on Saturday, and though it wasn't the best day of my life, I felt okay. I knew I could make it the entire way, and given the course was "mostly flat", I felt I could handle the cold as well. Goal: Complete the 5k in under 40 minutes.

Well that was complete crap. Have you ever stood outside in 20-something degrees with a wind chill in the single digits? It's frigid. I knew going into Sunday that it would be cold, but that was the only problem that I had foreseen. Every single thing that could have been opposite of my training was present:
  • The "mostly flat" course ended up being "mostly icy". So they switched courses to the "mostly hills" course. Again, to all you non-runners, this sucks. It is a horrible, nasty joke that trained runners play and it's not okay.
  • The cold weather that I could handle (see 2 paragraphs above) and that I had foreseen (see 1 paragraph above) was nothing that I could have predicted. Even during the downhill parts of the race, it was difficult to catch my breath and my $55-keep-you-warm-in-Alaska pants apparently did not apply to that day's weather.
And finally, as we rounded the last corner only to hear the organizers say we had gone off course and ran too long, I realized that as much as one may prepare for their first competitive race, you can never be ready for something you have never done. As I ran down the street with legs that walked half of the second mile and most of the third mile, I was filled with pride because I was finishing. Even with all of the complaining (thank you Megan for listening without judgement) and all of the desire to quit (thank you again Megan for being my cheerleader) during the race, I was going to cross that finish line if it was the last thing I did.

One last bit of advice for all of you non-runners who are considering training for a race, set your sights high. My goal was to finish my race in under 40 minutes. Even when it was extremely cold and they changed the course, I still had that goal. Turning that final corner, I had no concept of time but I ran that last bit with every ounce of energy I had. And in the end....

Final - 39:46.4

You're darn right, I'm proud.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Here we go.....

This blog will chronicle the next 3 months of my life as I prepare to participate in the Broad Street Run on May 1, 2011. Ten miles, straight down Broad, past one of my favorite places on Earth. And I'm going to finish it if it's the last thing I do.

2 months ago I had never run a mile in my life. 3 months from now I'll be running 10.

So here we go.....